The TACRON, or Tactical Air Control Squadron, has been in existence for more than 70 years. TACRON came to be in the Pacific and the Aleutian Campaign of 1943. In the Attu operations in May of that year, the first Air Support Control Unit (ASCU) afloat was employed. Operating from USS Pennsylvania (BB 38), close air support missions were controlled by this unit during the amphibious phase of the operation. In the early stages of amphibious operations during WW II, the requirement for training air support control personnel in the highly specialized techniques of close air support developed. At this time, the control units were not officially established and drew personnel for each campaign from amphibious staffs. When the war in the Pacific ended, the air support organization had grown to 24 ASCUs comprising nearly 2,300 officers and enlisted personnel commanded by a rear admiral.
The invasion of the Marshall Islands in January 1944 saw the first use in the Pacific of the Amphibious Flagship (LCC), the ship used was the USS Rocky Mount (AGC 3). Previous operations had shown the need for embarking the naval landing and air commanders in one ship so that the commander could more easily coordinate the entire amphibious operation. Two of these were employed, each embarking one ASCU. Iwo Jima brought about the final development of the methods used throughout the remainder of the war. While these early amphibious operations were being executed, the program for training air support personnel in these highly specialized techniques was expanded.
In late 1946, the ASCUs were commissioned and had their name changed to that of Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON). Originally based in Yokuska, Japan TACRON THREE (later to be TACRON TWO TWO) was relocated to San Diego in June 1947 where it remained for two years. On 22 November 1949 the squadron embarked aboard USS Bayfield (APA 33), along with most of their dependents and household goods for the journey to their new homeport – Norfolk, Virginia. As Bayfield was transiting the Panama Canal, on 3 December 1949, TACRON THREE reported to CINCLANTFLT for duty and assumed the new designation of TACRON FOUR. TACRON FOUR arrived in Norfolk on 11 December 1949 and set up “house” at the Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek. On 2 April 1955, the squadron designation was officially changed to TACRON TWO TWO.
In the past few years, TACRON TWO TWO has supported numerous deployments and workups for amphibious ready groups (ARG), deploying in support of Maritime Security Operations (MSO) and regional Theater Security Cooperation (TSC) efforts. Past deployment support includes Operation Inherit Resolve (2015) and Operation Odyssey Lightning (2016).
TACRON TWO TWO recently returned from completing dynamic and successful operations in both U.S. 5th and 6th Fleets working onboard USS Bataan (LHD 5), supporting COMHIBRON 8 and the 26th MEU. The detachment aided in developing emerging strategic concepts driven by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. The deployment was highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic presenting numerous first-time challenges, the professionals of TACRON TWO TWO were up to the task of their duty at the tip of the spear.